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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: People, landscape change and settlement: the last 15,000 years (GEGR10107)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is intended to provide an integrated palaeoecological approach to the origin and evolution of temperate and arctic environments during the Lateglacial and Holocene, with particular reference to the interplay between human and natural landscapes.
Course description The intention of the course is to ensure that all participants are familiar with the general principles of reconstruction of past environments and the broad outlines and limitations of the wide range of techniques available, in particular the evidence gained from studies of invertebrate faunas. The objective is to understand how the data used to reconstruct the dynamic Lateglacial and Holocene environment are acquired, how they may be used for the interpretation of past environments and how they may be used to inform decisions on conservation.

This course is open to all 3rd and 4th year university students. However, priority will be given to students on the Geography Degree and Sustainable Development programmes (Geography Pathway). Please contact to check availability.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is open to all 3rd and 4th year university students. However, priority will be given to students on the Geography Degree and Sustainable Development programmes (Geography Pathway). Please contact to check availability.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 7, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Seminar/Tutorials includes 4 Laboratory hours
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2,000 word Degree Essay (40%)
24-Hour Examination (2 questions) (60%)

Students are required to attempt both the Degree Essay (40%) and the 24-Hour Exam (60%) in order to meet the Learning Outcomes of this course. A mark of at least 40% must be achieved overall.

Assessment Deadlines:
Degree Essay - Week 8
Feedback Questions are encouraged during lectures, and provide an opportunity to give further information and clarification. Feedback is provided during class powerpoint presentations and laboratory practicals. Revision sessions provide feedback for examinations.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. A comprehensive and integrated knowledge and understanding of the broad pattern of environmental change (both natural and anthropogenic) over the last 15,000 years.
  2. An understanding of some of the sources of palaeoenvironmental data, and the various palaeoecological techniques, including vertebrate and invertebrate remains which can be applied to the investigation of environmental change and human activity in the landscape.
  3. An understanding of taphonomy and preservation.
  4. An understanding of the interaction of human communities with different facets of the environment and the role of humans as agents of landscape change and development.
  5. Knowledge of the biogeography of disease and an understanding of conservation issues and an understanding of conservation issues.
Reading List
1. Bell, M. and Walker, M.J.C. (2015). Late Quaternary Environments. Physical & Human Perspectives (2nd ed.). Routledge, London.

2. Butzer K. W. (2005). Environmental history in the Mediterranean world: cross-disciplinary investigation of cause-and-effect for degradation and soil erosion. Journal of Archaeological Science 32: 1773-1800.

3. Fitzhugh W. W. and Ward E. I. (2000). Vikings. The North Atlantic Saga. Smithsonian Institute, Washington.

4. Greenblatt C. and Spigelman M. (Eds) (2003). Emerging pathogens. Archaeology, ecology & evolution of infectious disease. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

5. Hodder K. H., Bullock J. M., Buckland P. C. and Kirby K. J. (2005). Large herbivores in the wildwood and modern naturalistic grazing systems. English Nature Research Report, 648. English Nature, Peterborough.

6. Lowe J. J. and Walker M.J.C. (2014). Reconstructing Quaternary Environments (3rd ed). Routledge, London.

7. Roberts N. (2014). The Holocene. An Environmental History (3rd edition). Wiley Blackwell, Oxford.

Particularly useful Journals: Antiquity, Archaeometry, The Holocene, Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of Biogeography, Journal of Quaternary Science, Meddelelser om Grønland, Quaternary Research, Quaternary Science Reviews.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Basic observation skills in the laboratory.
Basic knowledge of how to use a database to collate data and interpret an invertebrate assemblage (using BUGSCEP).
Skills in writing a project/essay of their choice (from a list of essays provided in the course).
KeywordsLateglacial,Holocene,Disease,Human Impact,Climate Change,Biogeography,Extinctions,Palaeoecology
Course organiserDr Eva Panagiotakopulu
Tel: (0131 6)50 2531
Course secretaryMiss Leigh Corstorphine
Tel: (01316) 502572
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